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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post… Rob Rogacki, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Detroit Tigers!

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Late season injuries and minor league call-ups are one thing.   Just not doing your job is an utter disgrace.  Bruce Rondon was sent home, literally, because of lack of effort.  Holy stereotypes.  Because getting out of bed, traveling first class and then having to pitch one whole inning a game in the oft-chance that your team may be winning.  Yeah, that sounds impossible to me to keep up with.  For now the Tigers will roll with a combination of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson.  So anyone looking for 3-4 saves til the end of the year can be rewarded with the plight of Rondon and his poor work effort.  I wouldn’t expect a treasure trove of riches, the Tigers rank in the bottom five in saves, save opps., bullpen ERA, blown saves, and believe it or not, balks by the bullpen.   I know that last stat is bupkiss, but when is the last time you ever read a balk stat in a reliever post?  It just happened for the first time in history and I am officially placing a copyright on it. So this is the final rankings for the year for closers I will do an end of the year wrap up next week with lots of zany stuff.

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Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve made most of my recommendations this year with the long term in mind.  I’m not easily swayed by a “hot” hitter, instead I tend to lean on the projections to set an expectation level.  This late in the season, however, I’m uncertain of how effective that approach is.  We can’t exactly count on any “regression to the mean” happening over such a small sample size of games.  Some players will be good over the last few weeks, others will be poor and I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it is possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the best base stealers to own these last three weeks (see this to know why).  But I have some names for you even though I have not a clue as to whether they’ll be difference makers over these last few weeks. Here’s my recommendations, I’ve attempted to rank them by number of steals they’ll get from now until the season ends…

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The term “tool” has multiple meanings around here.  A major league baseball player can have up to five tools.  A fantasy sports writer can be a tool — like when he recommends the wrong next in line to closer for the Rockies (that’s me).  Rudy Gamble makes tools — like the SAGNOF tool I talked up last week that gives you some insight on the best base stealing match-ups and like our DFS (daily fantasy) tools available here.  A commenter pointed out last week that “Using the (SAGNOF) tool, Venable (FA) faces Nelson who ranks #25…pretty stealable. Problem is, Nelson has been in top form lately so tough to get on base. I’m gonna give Venable a shot nevertheless.”  At this point I felt compelled to remind him and the rest of you that by using the tool “You can put the odds in your favor, but a one game result is ultimately a total crapshoot.”  Well, everything with such a small sample size is a crapshoot, so what I meant was that putting the odds in your favor is a good thing and something that you need to try to do consistently when it comes to managing your last few roster spots.  What happened that game?  Venable stole a base against Nelson.

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This is a true story. Pamela Anderson has an identical twin sister, and when Pam went to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune, her twin, Peggy, stayed behind in Minnesota. That part everyone knows. The part less people know is Peggy followed nearly all of Pam’s career moves, but in Minnesota. Peggy starred in a Minnesota-based TV show, Lakewatch, she took off her clothes for the Minnesota rag, The Viking, and she filmed a sex tape with Chris Mars. Sadly, the people of Minnesota canceled Lakewatch to show more Paul Molitor car commercials. The people of Minnysota asked Peggy to “Please put on a sweater” in The Viking, and Chris Mars was hung like a California Raisin. Peggy, like so many things Minnesota gets its hard Norwegian hands on, disappeared from people’s consciousness. Now replace Peggy with Aaron Hicks, replace Pamela Anderson with A.J. Pollock and imagine they’re related. When Hicks first came up, people thought he was going to be better than Pollock. No, not dumb people. In Double-A, Hicks had 12 homers, 32 steals and a .285 average. Then strikeouts enveloped his game in the majors and he hit .192 with a 27% K-rate in 2013, and hit .215 with a 25% K-rate in 2014, but this year, .277 and a 17% K-rate! That’s a huge improvement. That’s what she said! What? Oh, and he’s only 25 years old. Right now, he has 6 homers and 9 steals, so the power/speed combo hasn’t disappeared like Peggy Anderson, but the K-rate has. I’d own Hicks in all leagues, and am starting to prep myself for him to be a sleeper for 2016. As long as David Wasslewoff, Peggy’s old co-star, doesn’t try to coerce him into revamping the Lakewatch series. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Whatever happened to Flavor of Love? That show was my jizzoint! And Rock of Love, its companion piece, was the Better Call Saul to its Breaking Bad. You can’t tell me those two shows went off the air because Flavor or Brett found love. They were both likely married when the shows aired. It wasn’t about love, it was about meeting incredible people and finding out about other cultures..and watching girls fight! So, Matt Boyd rang ’em up and rang ’em down (Is that the saying? Let’s say it is!) with a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 2 Ks. Boyd came over to the Tigers in the David Price trade, which is different than the Star of David trade, which sent a necklace to Bernie Hermowitz for a mah jong set. Sadly, Boyd is a streamer for most mixed leagues with his 91 MPH fastball and likely 6 to 7 K/9. In his next start, he gets the Royals again, and no matter what the Stream-o-Nator says, I wouldn’t touch him, not unless Mo’Nique’s taking him under her wing at Charm School (another great show!). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Papelbon, your new Nationals closer

Maybe the worst thing to happen on the trade deadline was something that didn’t happen.  Carter Capps to the Yankees would have been stupendous.  I wanted to see the media and baseball people lose their mind over Capps’ delivery and I think that’s exactly what would have happened had he ended up there.  But the thing that really has fantasy baseball managers in a tizzy is Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals.  As their closer.  (Yeah this old news, Grey and Smokey already beat me to Paplebon/Nationals puns.  Whatever.)  Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Joakim Soria and Jim Johnson are out of their closing job but jobs were created in the form of Ken Giles, Edward Mujica, Alex Wilson, and Arodys Vizcaino.  Now some of us might still be scrambling for players that can get some saves.  Well the Rockies have a closer spot up for grabs.  It sure took long enough, but this is something I’ve been saying would happen since Axford took that role.  Justin Miller, Rafael Betancourt, and Tommy Kahnle are the candidates to close there and that’s the order I would own them in.

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Corey Seager should’ve been called up already. Brucely, we’re up against it with the Dodgers. We have the aging vet, Jimmy Rollins, who looks like toast if you were to take doodie and pat it into the shape of toast and, uh, toast it. We have Justin Turner, who is having a career year but isn’t really this good and getting more slap hits than another Turner. We have Dumb Mattingly, who has Joe Torre on speed dial because he thinks Torre is still the manager of the team and Dumb is just acting as interim. We have the playoffs in their grasp. We have a team where money is no object, so if they call up Seager and bench Rollins and his contract, whatevs. We have a city that is obsessed with youth, says Debra Winger. This sounds as convoluted as True Detective. Now that I write it out, I’m surprised Seager didn’t get called up in April. I’ve refrained from tooting the Seager horn to avoid looking like a Bozo when he wasn’t called up, but I’m starting to think it could be soon, or at least within the next month. Why do we care, young prematurely balding men? Cause he looks like a young Tulo. Maybe he doesn’t steal 20 bases in a year, but he could hit 30 HRs with 10 steals and a .300 average. No, not this year, but at some point those numbers seem doable. And I’d like to do ’em! In redraft leagues, I’d now start stashing Seager, and, in keepers and dynasty leagues, he’s likely already gone, but if he’s not, oh, heck’s yeah. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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You know they say, every Blue Jay fan has his Price, and every dog has his day and what does the cat say? Me-ouch. Is that a well-known idiom? Sounds like something Pol Pot would’ve said. “You look like a clown because you’ve applied too much Khmer rouge. Now what does the cat say? ‘Me-ouch!'” That was Pol Pot at his most disarmingly charming. You ever look at pictures of dictators and think to yourself, “He looks like a total tool. What kind of a-holes followed this guy?” Any hoo! David Price was acquired by the Blue Jays for Daniel Norris (who I’ll get to in a moment). The Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t believe he gutted the farm system to deliver Price and/or Tulo. No more than, say, a Greek farmer needs to gut a lamb to make shawarma. As they say on the lamb farm, sacrifices need to be made. I don’t think this changes a thing about Price’s value. Comerica was actually more offense-friendly this year, and the Blue Jays will provide more run support, but Price is essentially the same pitcher whether he’s in Toronto, New York or Boston, in Philly, Miami or Houston; in Detroit or– Is this a Kid Rock song I’m singing? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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